Clean up could be ordered at St Albans cinema site

AFTER years of decay, the owner of the dilapidated former Odeon Cinema in St Albans may be ordered to clean up its facade. St Albans District Council s plans (central) committee is being asked at its meeting on Monday to sanction enforcement action to ma

AFTER years of decay, the owner of the dilapidated former Odeon Cinema in St Albans may be ordered to clean up its facade.

St Albans District Council's plans (central) committee is being asked at its meeting on Monday to sanction enforcement action to make owners Wattsdown Developments tidy up the front of the 1930s' art deco building in London Road.

Cllr Chris Brazier, planning portfolio holder for the council, said: "This building has been allowed to fall into disrepair and is a blot on the landscape on one of the main entrances to the city.

"We have held several meetings with Tesco to get them to improve the state of their properties round there and they appear to be co-operating. But we are determined to get this area cleaned up."


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Council officers wrote to the land owner's agent on December 8 last year advising that legal action might be taken if the premises were not cleared up.

A second letter sent on January 12 this year elicited the response that a sale of the property was imminent.

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But now council officers want to use a section of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to force the owner's hand.

The cinema, which closed in 1995, has been the subject of several planning applications until permission was finally granted to demolish the building and erect 14 luxury flats on the site with underground parking.

The owners put the building back on the market with planning permission before Christmas and there was speculation that it could be kept as a cinema when James Hannaway, owner of The Rex in Berkhamsted, put in a bid for the building.

But it was rumoured that a deal could not be struck and the building is still on the market. Ward Councillor Michael Green said he hoped that the clean-up would be enforced sooner rather than later as it made the whole area look down-at-heel.

Members will be asked to vote in favour of getting the owners to repair the surface of the facade and repaint it white.

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